Saudi Arabia: The Islamist Cage

[New York Sun] Youssef Ibrahim - All of the constituent elements of Saudi society - from business and charity to religious instruction, law enforcement, and foreign relations - rattle inside the cage of the country's fundamentalist obsessions. Saudi foreign aid is based on building fundamentalist madrassas and mosques, supporting such fundamentalist groups as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and spreading Koranic instruction worldwide. Arab and Muslim expatriate workers who have lived and worked in Saudi Arabia - easily numbering 50 million over the last three decades - return imbued with a model of militancy that duplicates a bin Laden-style path toward jihad against their home societies. By the late '90s, there were full-size mirror images of Saudi Arabia's stilted brand of Islam in Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia, the Philippines, Chechnya, Bosnia, and Kosovo, as well as among Muslim communities in Europe, Australia, and America. More mirror images are in the making.

2007-08-31 01:00:00

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